From eNewsletter 12/31/2018
DID YOU KNOW that for patients with hypothyroidism, being treated with too much medication could lead to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association annual meeting?
Elevated levels of the thyroid hormone free thyroxine (free T4), even within the upper levels of normal reference ranges, were associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, suggesting the possible need for redefining the safest reference ranges in hypothyroidism treatment.
THE "GO-TO" FOR INFLAMMATION
Steve: Here are several examples of how inflammation can manifest itself in different ways and can be ameliorated with fish oil...
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HEART DISEASE TREATMENT VALIDATION
Bonnie & Steve: A "landmark" study has opened up a potent way to lower the risk of heart attacks, beyond the standard advice of reducing cholesterol. The findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology and just published in Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine.
We put landmark in quotations because you probably know what's coming. The landmark finding is not really landmark. You have known, because we have told you for a long time, that assessing inflammation is the most important risk factor for heart disease. Yet, doctors and researchers are calling this study a triumph.
The study findings provide validation that reducing inflammation could be a way to treat heart disease. "It's a new paradigm: a new opportunity to further reduce death and disability," said Mark Creager, a past president of the American Heart Association, claimed.
Huh? Even the most astute cardiologists have known that inflammation makes up at least half of cardiac disease risk, if not more.
We had a feeling there was a catch. Sure enough, there was. There was a drug involved in the trial. The drug company that sponsored it, Novartis, plans to meet with regulators this fall and file for approval by the end of the year. The drug, an injection given once every three months, supposedly showed a 15 percent drop in a combined measure of heart attacks, stroke and cardiovascular death in a select, high-risk population of people who had suffered a previous heart attack and had high levels of a marker of inflammation in their blood.
Guess what the list price of this drug will be? $64,000 for one year's therapy.
For 15 percent drop, diet and fish oil therapy can do more, and for much less.
Here's why we are excited though. Inflammation as a major risk factor for heart disease has finally been universally accepted. "It opens up an entirely new vista for the treatment of heart disease, because now everybody on the planet - in the pharmaceutical industry and in research institutions like ours and at the National Institutes of Health - are going to be looking to find anti-inflammatory therapies," Steven Pearson, president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, told the Washington Post.
Plan on hearing the word "inflammation" in the medical lexicon much more now.
Want a hot tip to use now instead of waiting 20 years? If you have not already, start the process of mapping your genome and get us the raw data. Everyone who is poo pooing it will understand its power eventually. We cannot emphasize this enough. Have a happy, healthy New Year!
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